Sunday, September 16, 2012

50 Miles for an Empty Bag

After yesterday's exciting repair fest, I deserved a nice long bike ride. I needed some fuel. Mrs. Rootchopper had purchased some organic steel cut Irish oats yesterday. (I get the organic part. And I think I get the steel cut part. Irish? I mean could you tell the difference between Irish oats and Norwegian oats?)  I sat down to cook them and quickly learned (cuz I read the destructions) that they take 35 minutes to cook.  I guess my forefathers have time to kill in the morning. I suppose the repair the thatch in the roof while the oats are cooking.  Anyway, I read the paper while my oats simmered.  A front page article about the fall of a local entrepreneur caught my I, because I know him and his son. DC is a small town.

After adorning my fancy pants Irish oats with raisins and cinnamon, I snarfed them up and headed for the door.  Big Nellie was the steed of the day. We took off down the street. The stiffness of the new seat back made for much more powerful and efficient propulsion. Unfortunately, in my haste to get rolling I forgot to bring some water. Oops. Reboot!

Once I had my water bottles it was time to get rolling again.  The ride to the Mount Vernon Trail was swift and comfy.  This new seat rocks!  I picked up the trail and slalomed around the weekenders.  As usual for a fair weather Sunday the trail was crowded but users were playing nice and I managed to make it all the way past Old Town with a smile on my face.  As I cruised north of Old Town I got stuck behind a guy on a hybrid who was riding fast, then slow, then fast. Dude, you are starting to piss me off!  Then he stopped dead in his tracks. No warning. I nearly rear ended him. As it turns out, he wasn't the problem. A guy on a CaBi was in front of him and CaBi was giving hybrid fits. Capital Bikeshare recently expanded to Old Town so I expect to see more noobs on the trail gumming up the works. They'll fit right in with the running clubs, the little kids learning how to ride, the rollerbladers, the stollers, and the occasional bird watcher.  I shouldn't complain since I get the MVT pretty much to myself on the weekdays.

Soon I was heading west on the Four Mile Run Trail.  I made it all the way to Shirlington where I resisted the call of the Weenie Beanie and jumped on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.  Over the course of the next couple of miles I was shoaled by a hybrid rider repeatedly.  Once clear of the busy George Mason Drive intersection, I put the hammer down on Big Nellie and dropped the queen of shoal far behind. 

The W&OD is gradually uphill heading west so Big Nellie and I endured a frustratingly slow pace.  Once we crossed over I-66, a downhill launched us over 30 miles per hour.  Soon we arrived at our destination, Bikes at Vienna, a specialty bike emporium.  B@V stocks Arkel seatback bags and Big Nellie needed one badly.  Her old bag was torn and tattered and held together by duct tape. 

I tested the Arkel bag to make sure it fit on my seat and bought it without hesitation. In transferring stuff from the old bag to the new, I realized that I was carrying a ridiculous amount of crap. I had to fiddle with the bag to get the zipper to close. I was carrying four different nut drivers, two brake cables, a spare chain, three tire irons, ten zip ties, three tubes (in addition to two in a bag on the front of the bike), a cargo net, a nine iron and a sand wedge.  I'd keep the sand wedge but the rest had to go when I got home.

On the return trip I stopped at a trail side Whole Foods to grab a bite to eat.  A ready-made tuna sammich was just what I needed so I bought it and sat on a bench next to the trail for a bite.  The marker on the bench gave me pause.  Be careful out there, dudes and dudettes.

Tuna devoured, I jumped on Big Nellie for the ride home. The long uphill grade now became the thing that recumbent riders dream of, a long steady downhill. Yee Ha!

But for a stop to refill my water bottles, I made quick work of the ride home.  I would guess that the average speed on my return was five miles per hour faster.  Thankfully, the MVT was back to normal, no doubt thanks to the fact that the Redskins were playing. Hail to the Redskins.  (Clearly the MVT and the shopping malls at Christmas is about all they are good for.)

I pulled into the driveway at 50 miles (thanks to the 1.5 mile false start).  Did my neck hurt? No. My shoulders? Nada. My arms? Surely, you jest. All I felt was a warm feeling in my legs for an honest effort on a late summer day. I looove my recumbent.

As I put Big Nellie away, I emptied the bag and took out all the extra junk that I had been hauling around. Including the sand wedge. 


  1. You can speed up the cooking time of the oatmeal by soaking the grains overnight. This also makes them more digestible.

    I am glad you love your pants-eating recumbent bike :)

  2. I'm also a steel cut oats eater, and I also soak them overnight. Makes mornings much quicker - and healthier!

  3. What a GREAT day weatherwise it was yesterday!! :) Glad you got in a great long ride! :) :)